You’ve heard who they are and why they’re fighting. But now that we’re over the halfway mark until the big night on May 15th, things have started to pick up a bit. Training is getting more intense. They’ve been punched in the face. Most have had a bloody nose here or there, their diets have changed, and boxing is becoming an everyday part of their lives. So we figured it was about time to check back in and see how things have been going. Mike McElaney has been putting in work at Jim McNally Boxing and below you’ll hear about his first time sparring and more about his experience with Haymakers thus far.

We’re halfway to fight night, how is your training coming along?
Training is going well, we're working hard but still have A LOT to learn. Training has been a humbling experience and I have new found respect for boxing as a sport and for how hard real fighters are able to push themselves...mentally and physically.

What is your weekly routine? 
In the gym 5 days a week after work until close, then on Friday mornings...Saturdays off with the family, sparring on Sundays.

How has your diet changed since training began?
We'll often do Friday night pizza nights in our house...prior to Haymakers I did not know that cauliflower was a pizza crust option. It's actually not bad, but needless to say my diet has changed significantly

Tell us about your first time sparring, different than expected?
I didn't know what to expect the first time sparring. Actually asked my trainer what the rules were..wasn't sure how hard we're allowed to hit the other guy, but my sparring partner was kind enough to hit me first, and often, and it went form there. Getting punched in the face is a lot more disorienting than I expected.

What has been the most challenging part of sticking to the routine and training so far? 
This is a great question as we hit the halfway point. The hardest part of sticking to the training is the training itself, I've enjoyed every minute of it but it's a real grind....some great days and some bad, and some when I ask myself why the hell I'm doing this. And that grounds me back to the routine, we can't lose sight of why we're doing this - to help beat cancer and that's been a great source of motivation to fight through the tougher days.

What does your family think of your participation?
My wife's been hugely supportive, my whole family has, but I've asked a lot of my wife over the past 3 months and she's never hesitated to carry the extra load at home. She's been a source of constant encouragement and I can't thank her enough. My kids think it's pretty cool oldest is 8, she's come to the gym a few times and has a pretty mean left hook.

It’s amazing how many people’s lives have been touched by cancer in some way - has there been anyone that has surprised you by their story?
There's a bit of a family growing in our Haymakers group and everyone's story is inspirational. The stories themselves, unfortunately aren't surprising because cancer is everywhere, but what I've been surprised and impressed by is how passionately each and every fighter tells their story.

Has your initial inspiration changed since the start of your training?
My inspiration has only changed in that it grows stronger each day. It's important to reflect on why we're doing this and the collective effort shown by the group is added motivation to do our own individual part.

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